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[V5] The Sabbat in V5

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  • Still it wasn't nearly as much of a sin in there as it is in VtM. Quite the contrary, it is kinda of expected.


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    • Indeed.
      If being a vampire is really god's curse, then god fully intended for vampires to eat one another. Fact is, pre-revised, Diablerie was morally no worse than any other form of murder.

      Holding onto the soul rather than processing it and then sending it off not only sounds terribly inefficient, but you have to wonder why god would purposely design such a spanner in the cycle of reincarnation (which is canon)

      Revised fucked up diablerie.


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      • I think it's more the fact the only people who think of cannibalism as worse than eating humans (which is what vampires do) are Elders and that's been consistent since 1st Edition. The Elders feared diablerie because it was "cheating" and allowed Neonates to become more powerful than they would be normally in the hierarchy.

        Diablerie was part of the Gothic Punk revolutionary flavor of the social dynamics.

        A forbidden but terrible thing you could resort to in order to gain UNLIMITED POWER.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • For me it is fun to have something as taboo as it gets in vampire society like diablerie. Without that, what is there? Infernalism? That is a bit too esoteric for me. In some ways both are a deal with the devil, only that diablerie might not have consequences depending on the system or Narrator beyond some bad press, and depending on the sect, it might not even have that. Taboos are fun things to have in a game setting, not too much to have the players feel bombarded by so much things to keep tab on, like a Narrator that is way too demanding with etiquette and social cues (not from the PCs but the players) in a game of L5R. It's not just a blunder when the person is rumored to be a damn diablerist, and to also have that spiritual and animistic idea floating around that the cannibals might have stolen someone's soul is awesome.

          I believe it should still feel like a big tradeoff or gamble, and if you just get power off of it and go dilly dally like it was nothing to me you're just taking stuff out of the game, not giving it. For tables where diablerie is a running theme, like a Haquimite warrior-heavy story or Sabbat pack one, yeah, losing Humanity every time is gonna be a tough one, especially if your Narrator uses taxing parameters like prolonged selfless act and the Humanity rating x 10 cost. I would hope thee Sabbat book has a chapter about how Sabbat keep their sanity with or without the Paths. It would be an interesting text.


          Strange... When coincidence seems too convenient, I prefer to call it fate.

          -Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain d=

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          • Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
            Indeed.
            If being a vampire is really god's curse, then god fully intended for vampires to eat one another. Fact is, pre-revised, Diablerie was morally no worse than any other form of murder.
            Going by the various fictional accounts punished over the years (Book of Nod, Revelations of the Dark Mother, Erciyes Fragments) I think the only part of the curse attributable to God was the immortality (per the Wormwood ending in Gehenna intended to give Caine all the time in the world to repent). The powers that vampires employ came from learning magic from Lilith* and the punishments levied by the angels he encountered in his vision were either punishments intended to limit the damage Caine would otherwise be capable of if the power he gained from Lilith were left unchecked -or- permanent paradox flaws picked up from his botched Awakening ceremony with Lilith.

            Regardless, from the reading it’s pretty clear that Caine being able to pass his curse on wasn’t a direct result of God’s punishment, but more Caine’s pride and knowledge of blood magic pushing him to inflict his suffering on others.

            If you give someone the gift of a hammer, saw, wood and nails and they take it and use the hammer to break someone’s bones, then jab the nails into their eyes, hack off their limbs with the saw and finally burn them on a pyre made from the wood... the problem isn’t with you. So too Caine, given immortality and choosing to use it not to reassess and repent, but to gather powet for himself and to inflict his misery on others.

            My interpretation of Diablerie is thus that it’s an expression of blood magic akin to the Verbena’s use of sacrifices to empower themselves by taking the essence of the sacrifice into themselves.

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            • In any interpretation of Diablerie the problem remains that insta-loss of Humanity is too harsh a mechanic. Diablerie may be interpreted in many ways, and I do agree that it make sense for it to be a taboo. This enriches the gaming experience and accounts for the problem of circumventing XP economics in acquiring objective sheet power. And even in Sabbat it isn't exactly ok, it isn't a crime against sect enemies, but if you suddenly exhibits that aura marks this will raise some eyebrows and people will at least try to figure out who you ate.

              But degrading Humanity without any roll or chance, independently of circumstances or rating, that's just bad for gaming and storytelling experiences. That's offering a story option then bluntly prohibiting its usage, punishing players, not characters, for following the lead. And making it addictive on top of that is just nonsensical, since it basically means Diablery is almost Wassail-in-a-can. Who would even consider this option that way!?


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              • If you diablerise someone, and their soul remains within you (along with presumably all the souls they've consumed and so on and so forth) there are questions like: Is the soul aware? Is it aware as a prisoner or does it exerience everything from your perspective? If the soul just slumbers within you, is that worth a humanity loss? Similarly, if the soul is trapped unpleasantly, shouldn't you be constantly losing humanity or will as the soul struggles or something?
                Humans chew their food, vampires don't chew, but as above, so below. I think the most likely scenario is that you bite, you suck, you take away some metaphorical divine spark or something similar to gain generation, and the soul? The soul moves on. At most, if the soul is suffering, it does so at most during the period in which the vampire has black marks in the aura.


                To me at least, if we use Caine as legend or allegory, Diablerie as an in-built feature makes sense for a punishment for the first murderer- an entire race that needs to murder the people above it to advance., and respondingly repress the people below it. The undercurrents of Diablerie set off a good chunk of the issues with the Jyhad; Vampire society would be a lot healthier without highly beneficial cannibalism.

                And if I let my economic politics lead me for a moment: There's nothing wrong with wanting to eat the rich. I really think Revised undermines the punk aspect of the game by adding conservative morality concerning the subject (You're a junkie and you're bad/wrong for ambition!) V5 moreso by making eating the poor more mechanically enticing.

                The other issue with revised is that they add the idea that it's addicting, but make it more mechanically bad, so you actually want to diablerize less the more you diablerize.


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                • There's even the matter of belief to consider.

                  Murder is the act of knowingly taking a life. Theft is the act of knowingly taking someone else's possession. None is the act of causing such effects while being totally ignorant of even the possibility. If you beat someone and walk away pretty confident that your victim will survive, should you lose Humanity as per murder when the victim dies without you ever knowing or thinking it could happen? Is your conscience guilty of theft if you though it was a free sample?

                  Diablerie may be a lot of things. But objectively speaking it isn't either soul sucking or memory sucking or whatever. It is "sucking by physical brute force the last drop of whatever is in your victim veins and then having a drug trip". And your victim dies cause you tried, success or not, so murder. But anything beyond that is just an interpretation.


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                  • This soul talk is giving me some Wraith the Oblivion soulforging vibes, which is always good. Each diablerie gives you an obulos in the Shadowland in case your diablerist fellow turns into a wraith fellow, so yeah, it is all about planning ahead and investing. lol

                    Addiction isn't supposed to give mechanical bonus, or is it? It should be totally crap to have that, and if the player doesn't want to RP that, or thinks he should be bonusfied by his addiction, then it is talk with Narrator time. But most games do (and I think they should) give only debuffs for any form of addiction. Of course, it might sound like "winners don't do diablerie" but the character should feel compelled, not the player. If one does something the other doesn't want to, and it does not bring joy, the game should be adapted to such wants. I don't think it should officially be treated as such though. To be a bad tradeoff seems like a statement.


                    Strange... When coincidence seems too convenient, I prefer to call it fate.

                    -Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain d=

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                    • There's been a lot of ambiguity and debate in-game about whether vampires actually still have souls. One possibility is that the human soul does pass on with death, and the resultant dead body is animated by the Beast taking its place, with only human memories and long-established personality traits restraining it from inhuman behavior 24/7. (Or, well, 8-16/7 depending on how much daylight there is). In that model, it makes perfect sense that adding to the Beast by absorbing that of another vampire like two drops of mercury combining into a bigger drop would have an adverse effect on such restraints. Instead of gradually adding to the weight on one side of a balance in small increments, you're dropping a big extra weight onto it all at once—it's not that the act itself is so much more heinous than regular murder, it's that suddenly the inhuman savagery-disposed element of the overall system is a considerably larger percentage of the whole.

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                      • IIRC, Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand strongly implies you consume the soul, too, and that's Second Edition, not Revised.

                        But I also always assumed the black streaks were the remnants of someone else's soul, too. So I think it was always about stealing someone's soul.

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                        • Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
                          There's been a lot of ambiguity and debate in-game about whether vampires actually still have souls. One possibility is that the human soul does pass on with death, and the resultant dead body is animated by the Beast taking its place, with only human memories and long-established personality traits restraining it from inhuman behavior 24/7. (Or, well, 8-16/7 depending on how much daylight there is). In that model, it makes perfect sense that adding to the Beast by absorbing that of another vampire like two drops of mercury combining into a bigger drop would have an adverse effect on such restraints. Instead of gradually adding to the weight on one side of a balance in small increments, you're dropping a big extra weight onto it all at once—it's not that the act itself is so much more heinous than regular murder, it's that suddenly the inhuman savagery-disposed element of the overall system is a considerably larger percentage of the whole.
                          Personally I don't really care for that interpretation or where it leads, but nonetheless it's a very cool and interesting one for sure!

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                          • I always liked the extreme evil of 3rd ed diablerie, as both of act of extreme personal and spiritual violation it carried a raw nastyness that murder just doesnt have. My Shovelhead done good Lasombra was reduced to tears once she realised that she'd destroyed a soul, its effectively haunted her for her entire unlike to the point she's been learning necromancy to try and figure a way to repair/remove the soul of the victim.

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                            • I admit when I made a pitch for all of my characters for the various Onyx Path NPC Kickstarter offers, I always went, "How do I make this a diablerist and Anarch both."



                              We need more diablerists in canon.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                              • I think the cost of diablerie should come down to whether you're getting a generation boost or a generation boost + xp and disciplines. With the former, it's no different to killing a human when you feed. The soul didn't have generation when it was human, so why would its generation be tied to its soul? There's no need to involve a soul in any way and that's just silly, imo. You probably just eat the vitae and throw the soul out. The stigma is because the elders are a bunch of paranoid assholes who hate sharing.
                                If you're getting the victim's xp and unlocking disciplines then you're draining their own life experience and then we talk about soul sucking.

                                I don't like diablerie cheap, but I do find multiple souls sharing a body a bit overdramatic. I firmly view such diablerie as hybridisation, with the result being a third personality that is, in a way, both and neither the diablerist and victim. V20 - The Black Hand book with too long a title reinforces that for me.
                                Regardless of whether it's souls or memories getting merged, gambling some of your own identity in exchange for for that of another (and possibly fucking yourself up in the process, if the component personalities don't mesh well) seems like high enough of a price for me. It isn't even a curse or a price, it's exactly what the diablerist asked for. You got the experiences, strength and "wisdom" of an elder by making them part of yourself, for better or worse.
                                The results and ensuing identity crises interesting to explore, for me.

                                Although, coming back to this, it occurs to me that if there's a window of opportunity for the victim's soul to move into their diablerist's body, they may well try and do that regardless of whether the diablerist is planning to discard them which may lead to partial or full merging. Eh, no risk no reward.
                                Last edited by Rhywbeth; 09-03-2021, 07:58 AM.

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